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Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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26 Issues


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EDITORIAL Group Editor Daniel Booth Deputy Editor Will Stapley Production Editor Graham Brown Art Editor Katie Peat Contributors Adam Banks, Dinah Greek, Jane Hoskyn, Jonathan Parkyn, Nick Peers, Nik Rawlinson, Wayne Williams ADVERTISING Group Advertising Director Andrea Mason Advertising Manager Alexa Dracos MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Subscriptions Rachel Hare Marketing Production Manager Gemma Hills For subscription enquiries ring 0330 333 9493 PRODUCTION Group Production Manager Stephen Catherall Production Controller Sophie Griffin MANAGEMENT Managing Director Dharmesh Mistry MD of Advertising Julian Lloyd-Evans Commercial and Retail Director David Barker Interim CFO Martyn Hyndley Chief Executive James Tye Company Founder Felix Dennis…

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from the editor

When Walkmans hit the shops in the early 1980s, much fuss was made about how they could fit snugly into your pocket. Maybe my teenage pockets were unusually small, but it would’ve been easier to squeeze a pregnant hippo into a phone box (there were still plenty of those back then). I had to wait another 20 years for devices dinky enough to fill my pockets. When USB sticks arrived, many people used them just for transferring files (I know I did). Over time specialist software was built to take advantage of their portability. In this issue’s Cover Feature, Nik Rawlinson reveals the best free tools. I’ve seen these sticks called many things: flash drives, thumb drives, jump drives, pen drives, memory units and data sticks. I’ve always preferred USB stick because those…

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new ‘tablet mode’ for windows in 2020

Microsoft is changing how Windows 10 works when you use it on a touchscreen computer, letting you choose an option that looks and feels more like the traditional Windows desktop. Currently, the only option in Windows 10 is a Tablet mode that shows a full-screen Start menu packed with tiles, designed to make it easier to open programs, tools and files by tapping with your finger rather than clicking with your mouse (see ‘Current’ screenshot above). The taskbar disappears to accommodate this larger menu. To turn it on, click Action Center at the bottom right of your taskbar (a speech-bubble icon), then click ‘Tablet mode’. This mode was designed to be used on ‘2-in-1’ convertible laptops with a hinged screen that can be removed or flipped back, effectively turning the device into a…

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reinstall windows from the web

You’ll soon be able to reset your computer by downloading the latest version of Windows from the internet. This means you don’t need to have it saved locally on your hard drive, or on a USB stick. Microsoft said this ‘Cloud Download’ option will be added to the ‘Reset this PC’ tool in the Feature Update next Spring. It’s responding to feedback from users who want to use their “high-speed internet connection to speed up this process by just downloading Windows”. It added that downloading Windows will remove programs you’ve installed, while selecting the ‘Remove everything’ option will wipe all user data.…

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nato to russia: attack nhs and we’ll hit back

Nato has said that all 29 member states would respond to a “serious cyber attack” on the scale of 2017’s WannaCry hack that crippled computers worldwide, including NHS machines. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said such an attack would trigger a “collective defence commitment”, known as Article 5 of its founding treaty. Article 5 has not been invoked since al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the US in 2001. He wrote in Prospect magazine: “We have designated cyber-space a domain in which Nato will operate and defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land, and at sea”. He added that Nato will retaliate whether an attack takes place in the “physical world or the virtual one”. A report last year concluded that the WannaCry attack cost the NHS £92m and resulted in 19,000…

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govt: build taller phone masts to boost rural signals

Bigger and taller phone masts could be built after the Government said it plans to scrap planning restrictions in a bid to boost signals in rural areas, and make 5G more widely available. Currently, masts on public land must be no taller than 25 metres (82 feet) high, but Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said she wants to relax these rules. She also said masts could be built over 20 metres (65 feet) on land “protected” for environmental, historical or cultural value. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she said that allowing taller and wider masts that can handle more signalling equipment should mean there’s no need to blanket the countryside with thousands of new ones. She acknowledged that the masts could be deemed “eyesores” in beauty spots, but argued that this should be…